June 26, 2013

Will traveling be eased because it is a UNESCO Heritage Site?

Locations: Bayabulak, Xinjiang, China (43.030°,84.150°
Date: 27 May 1999; 10.20am
Camera: (analogue) Canon 500N with negatives and scanned

UNESCO just added 19 new sites to its Heritage list. Among the new additions is Tianshan Xinjiang, the Tianshan mountain system in Xinjiang. This is a uniquely beautiful and till now, fairly unspoilt area of China. In fact, one would not imagined oneself to be in China here, considering the pollution and destruction that is prevalent in the rest of China. This area is the home of the Uighurs, Mongolians and a host of other ethnic minorities of Central Asia. The beauty, especially the snow-covered mountain ranges is indescribable. Getting around these places is not that convenient but is well-worth the effort. Unfortunately these days accessibility is not as open as it used to. The Chinese authorities had bar access to some of these places citing security concerns. For example, Bayanbulak, a fabulously beautiful high altitude meadows grassland ringed by snow-capped mountains can now only be visited by foreigners who have a special pass. I hope that as a result of its listing as  a UNESCO Heritage Site would prompt the authorities to ease up on its travel control.


May 28, 2013

When the sun is down

Location: Plaza Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA (36°10'17"N 115°8'50"W)
Date: 10 September 2006; 6.25pm
Camera: Canon 300D with kit lens

Las Vegas used to have a bit of a sleazy reputation and thrives mainly as a casino resort. However with stiff competition especially from new casinos in Asia, it had remake itself into a top-notch family-oriented resort as well as a convention destination. Many of the hotels in Vegas has attractions which every kid would love to visit, be it Shark Reef Aquarium, Dolphin Habitat or the Eiffel Tower Experience. Asian shoppers enjoy Vegas as there are plenty of outlet stores with great bargains to be have, just outside of town. However Las Vegas nightlife is still a very vibrant scene. Apart from continued indulgence around a casino table, there are plenty of clubs with the variety that will satisfy whatever one’s taste of party hangout. If you like to party to hip-hop, rock or pop music, go to the Jet at the Mirage. If you prefer a stunning vista, there is the Palms or Club X at Mandalay. Of course, there are plenty of Gentlemen's Club, after all this is still Vegas. Even if clubbing is not your thing, one can just hangout and enjoy the fabulous neon lights with a good chance of catching a glimpse of a celebrity.


January 11, 2013

The new icon of Singapore- supertrees

Location: Gardens by the Bay, Singapore (1° 16′ 56.89″ N, 103° 51′ 42.6″ E)
Date: 10 September 2012; 1.05 pm
Camera: Canon 500D with Sigma 17-70/f2.8-4.5

Singapore is continuously re-inventing itself for economic reasons. The country do not have any natural resources and its main niche is its physical location, being in the middle of important marine passageway. It has capitalized on that and branch out to promote itself successfully as the bridge or gateway between the East and West as well as first-mover in moving up the value chain in manufacturing. With other Asian countries catching up, it is tough for Singapore to stay on top, from a manufacturing perspective. As such the country has diversified itself into being a premium service provider as well as a premium destination. this despite its absolute lack of natural beauty- it creates landmarks and attractions.
One of the latest is the Gardens by the Bay, which sits on reclaimed land in the central of Singapore. The Gardens fit into the government’s attempt to differentiate itself as a “Garden City”, which it has been very successful in promoting- many tourists were absolutely impressed with the trees and gardens on the way from the airport to the city. Gardens by the Bay consists of a few conservatories- enclosed gardens within a huge glasshouse-like structure and a few Supertrees- tree-like structures that dominates the Gardens’ landscape. These supertrees ranges in height from 25m to 50m and are both vertical gardens as well as dining venues. The supertrees had very quickly became the latest Singapore icons.